These Live-Tweeting ‘Burglars on Demand’ Want to Keep Your Home Safe

Arlo pushes security in an unconventional way

Who better to hire to protect people's homes than reformed burglars?

Arlo, Netgear's home security brand, is doing just that with its new "burglar on demand" campaign, featuring a team of actual bad-guys-turned-good-guys offering tips on how to prevent invaders from finding a way in.

The campaign, created by San Francisco agency Heat, features folks who don't have the cleanest police records but want to offer their seedy expertise to help others avoid becoming victims. For two weeks in December, they're taking to Twitter to answer questions from consumers about everyday home security gray areas.

Arlo's team of ex-burglars is led by Jon Douglas Rainey, who is best known for stealing the trophy Corvettes from the 1987 Miss America Pageant. He is now a professional security consultant and has played a key role in recruiting other former criminals to participate anonymously in the campaign.

Matt Stafford, Heat's digital creative director, told Adweek that the service—which combines criminal expertise and social media—works "almost like a help line." However, instead of sending a normal tweet, the former burglars answer each question via a Soundcloud clip with a distorted voice. Heat is also using social listening to target (and sometimes troll) people carelessly giving away details about when they're out of town or when they receive expensive new items that might be tempting to take.

"What we really tried to do with Arlo is show that we believe that having a home security device doesn't have to be scary," Stafford said. "You can talk about it in a way that is entertaining."

Heat certainly talks about it in that way. The social-media campaign is anchored by a five-minute spot featuring an actor and a real family talking about actual things criminals consider when deciding which homes to enter and how they get in.

According to Heidi Cormack, Netgear's vp of corporate marketing, the campaign has helped generate nearly 100,000 impressions in the first week.

The home security system, while not normally seen as the sexiest of tech products, is a growing market. According to Netgear, the U.S. security camera market as a whole is growing at a pace of between 30 percent and 35 percent a year, rising in 2015 to a total $330 million. Since entering the space about a year ago, Netgear claims that Arlo has gone from having zero market share to the top spot.

"It really helps us bring Arlo to life and makes us human," Cormack said of the campaign. "It's [about] everyday families and everyday consumers with the things they value most, whether it's their home or their families."

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